Foto: Nick Cobbing

On Thin Ice

The range of objects in the photographs exhibited in the photo exhibition «On Thin Ice» is wide. You see the day, the night, researchers, sea creatures, scenery—anything that you might be able to see in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. But still, it seems that there exists one word that can link all those photographs of different objects: beautiful.

Text: Yeonwoo Baik

Let’s read what is written on the introduction of the exhibition on the website of Framsenteret: «For six months, the ship «Lance» was a station for researchers who gathered knowledge about melting sea ice through the project «N-ICE2015». Follow the researchers from polar night to midnight sun on the drift ice.» The description made me think of photographs with academic atmosphere, which follow the activities of researchers studying the sea and the ice. And the photographs presented on the website were actually like that. The description on the first floor of the exhibition venue explains «N-ICE2015», an abbreviation of Norwegian Young sea ICE cruise, as a project that aims to collect correct data that will improve the accuracy of Arctic change models. To reach the goal, a research station has been established in the arctic drift ice, and researchers could follow the process from the beginning till the end. Again, the photographs presented with the description seemed very academic. But don’t be intimidated, for you can find beauty everywhere, both in ideas and in forms.

The sunlight breaks on the sea ice creating a dazzling sight. The night embraces the lonely tent of the researchers, and the shadows of the researchers are cast upon the walls of the tent as if the tent is the stage of a shadow theatre. A thin slice of sea ice shines with thousands of colours as polarised light falls upon it. A sea creature studies its reflection on the air bubble. The vast scenery of sea ice, also isolated and covered with snow, springs onto us. All these scenes are exquisitely captured—and yes, let’s not forget the beautiful researchers concentrating hard on their mission.

I guess you all have encountered a sentence like «I felt how small a human being actually was as I stood looking over the vast nature spread out in front of my eyes.» once in your life. Such a cliché, but you will not be able to avoid thinking of a similar kind of sentence. Don’t be embarrassed, though. For it is quite a natural consequence of seeing a ship and humans that were once filling the whole frame of photographs recede into the background and become one of the many other elements comprising the vast, grand scenery of arctic sea ice. Objectively speaking, the photographs are rather large and the resolution is absolutely high. However, as you stare more and more at the vast sea with cracking ice, or at the ship making its way through the misty wilderness of ice, you will discover yourself craving for even more.

You can enjoy the exhibition at Framsenteret, on the first floor at the library and on the second floor between 09:00 and 15:00 from Monday to Friday. And don’t forget to look into the corridor on the left hand side of the second floor, for you can see amazing six prize-winning photographs of nature taken by Audun Rikardsen from the mainland and Svalbard.